How To Make A Life: A Novel

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2019

When Ida and her daugh­ter, Bessie, flee a cat­a­stroph­ic pogrom in Ukraine for Amer­i­ca in 1905, they believe their emi­gra­tion will ensure that their chil­dren and grand­chil­dren will be safe from harm. But choic­es and deci­sions made by one gen­er­a­tion have rip­ple effects on those who come lat­er — and in the decades that fol­low, fam­i­ly secrets, betray­als, and mis­takes made in the name of love threat­en the sur­vival of the fam­i­ly: Bessie and Abe Weiss­man­’s chil­dren strug­gle with the shat­ter­ing effects of daugh­ter Ruby’s men­tal ill­ness, of Jen­ny’s love affair with her broth­er-in-law, of the dis­ap­pear­ance of Ruby’s daugh­ter as she flees her moth­er’s lega­cy, and of the acci­den­tal deaths of Irene’s hus­band and grand­daugh­ter. A sweep­ing saga that fol­lows three gen­er­a­tions of a Jew­ish fam­i­ly from the ten­e­ments of Brook­lyn through World War II, from Wood­stock to India, and from Spain to Israel, How to Make a Life is the sto­ry of a fam­i­ly who must learn to accept each oth­er’s dif­fer­ences — or risk cut­ting ties with the very peo­ple who anchor their place in the world.

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